Greek Style Kleftiko Lamb With Potatoes

Greek lamb and potatoes is one of the most classic Greek dishes. Whether it’s done on a spit or slow roasted in the oven it’s Greek cooking at its best. One of the most popular and easiest to make it is kelftiko style - slow roasted, simple ingredients yielding juicy fall of the bone lamb, melt in your moth potatoes, cooking along with and infused by the garlic, onions, roasted sweet peppers and juicy tomatoes. I added some capers and olives to mine as well for some brininess and finished off with crumbled feta. A complete meal in one pan. Perfect for any occasion!

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies 

Greek lamb Kleftiko recipe – What does Lamb Kleftiko mean?

Simply put it is slow roasted lamb. The word kleftiko (literally mean stolen) - during a certain time in history it was illegal for “commoners” to own animals of any kind, therefore no meat. So people would steal a lamb (hence the name) and cook it in underground pits which would trap heat and cook the meat until it was fall off the bone tender and also to avoid detection. We don’t have to dig pits or cook the lamb in earthen vessels for the better part of day anymore to enjoy this fabulous classic and rustic lamb dish. Some patience is required but this dish couldn’t be simpler to prepare and cook.

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies 

Marinating the Lamb

I usually recommend marinating the lamb. There is nothing but good that comes from marinating lamb. The lamb absorbs so much flavour from even an hour of marinating.   I recommend marinating over night but even if you have 1 hour it will make a difference. The marinade I chose to use in this one is a simple rub made up of olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs and  Dijon mustard. I like to use fresh herbs where I can as they always add a more intense flavour to whatever they are added to. I partnered up with Metro to feature some of my favorite Irresistibles fresh herbs that I love to use in my lamb kelftiko recipe. I used fresh thyme and fresh oregano. I am always stocked with those two and so glad that Metro is too!

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies 

Not all kelftiko recipes include potatoes in the pan with the lamb or add so many other veggies into the mix - but I love adding potatoes and veggies so I included them making this a one pan meal. I cut them a little larger than I normally would because of the long roasting time. They soak up all the delicious flavours of the lamb while it’s roasting and also add flavour to the delicious pan juices. Feel free to add more or less of each veggie or even swap them out for any other ones you might prefer. Just remember to chose ones that can withstand the long roasting time or ones you don’t mind sort of melting away in the pan juices because of it.

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies 

How to make kelftiko lamb

It’s by far the easiest lamb recipes - with no fail fall of the bone tender results eveytime.

  1. Start by marinating the lamb for at least 1-4 hours or preferably overnight with the simple herb garlic rub
  2. Slice all the veggies and place in a large roasting pan (A large enamelled, lidded, cast-iron pot, would also be suitable to cook this in). Toss them with seasoning and broth, wine or water
  3. Place lamb over veggies and cover pan with lid or seal off and cover pan with a layer of parchment paper followed by a layer of foil. •Roast until fall of the bone tender and enjoy!!

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies 

PRO TIP for getting the most delicious kleftiko lamb:

Once the lamb is done and tender.  Remove the lid or parchment/foil covering and continue roasting on high for 15-20 min more to get that roast golden and even more delicious.  If your potatoes are still not as golden as the lamb is after the 15-20 min mark you can remove the lamb and set it on a platter and broil the veggies for a couple of minutes until edges are golden and slightly crisp. Don’t forget to serve this with a Greek horiatiki salad or Classic Greek Lettuce Salad. Enjoy!!!

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I have partnered up with Metro Ontario to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.


Servings: 8
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 2¾-3 hours


For the rub/marinade

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) trimmed bone-in leg of lamb 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon Irresistibles Extra Virgin Olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Irresistibles Fresh Oregano 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Irresistibles Fresh Thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon 

For the veggies

  • 4 large potatoes scrubbed and cut into large wedges 
  • 2 Sweet peppers seeds, stems removed and cut into large chunks 
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into large wedges 
  • 1 large red onion peeled and cut into large wedges 
  • 1 whole garlic bulb sliced into two horizontally 
  • 2 tablespoons Irresistibles Capers 
  • 1 cup Irresistibles Green Queen Olives 
  • 3 tablespoons Irresistibles Extra Virgin Olive oil 
  • 200 ml of water (stock or whitewine can also be used)
  • 1 lemon juiced, reserve halves 
  • ½ teaspoon chopped Irresistibles Fresh Oregano 
  • ½ teaspoon chopped Irresistibles Fresh Thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf

For serving 

  • Extra Irresistibles Fresh Oregano and Thyme 
  • Crumbled feta 
  • Lemon wedges 


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper or foil 
  2. Pat lamb dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the top side of the lamb by making shallow cuts all over. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the rub ingredients. Rub lamb all over with it and set aside. (Can do this ahead and refrigerate covered 4 hours or over night.) 
  4. Place the potatoes, peppers, onion, olives, capers and tomato into prepared pan and then toss well with the salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs, and water. 
  5. Put the leg of lamb fat side up on top of the vegetables then add the garlic halves and the squeezed lemon halves to the pan. Cover tightly with parchment and foil, sealing the edges well to retain the moisture as it cooks.
  6. Cook in the oven for 2½–2¾ hours until the meat is falling off the bone,adding a little more water, if necessary, halfway through to keep the vegetables moist. 
  7. Remove the cover increase temperature to 430 degrees F and cook for 20 min to brown
  8. Remove the lemon halves, squeeze garlic out of skin and serve lamb with the roasted vegetables, garnished with extra herbs, lemon wedges and crumbled feta 

Recipe Notes

Cooking times may differ from oven to oven so please remember to check and cook your lamb according to your own taste. The safe internal temperature for cooked lamb is 145°F. Measure by using a meat or instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat that’s not touching any bone.

Greek Lamb (Kleftiko) With Roasted Veggies